Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Massachusetts Lt. Governor, State Representative Announce Resignations

Two Massachusetts officials, both Democrats, announced their resignation from office earlier this month following accusations of wrongdoing and official misconduct in separate incidents.

Lt Gov Tim Murray announced his resignation from office on May 6th. Murray is reportedly taking a higher paying job with the Worcester Chamber of Commerce in early June, after his last day in office. The move will leave the Commonwealth without a Lieutenant Governor until 2014- although this would not be the first time in recent history that the Bay State would be without a Lt Gov for an extended period of time.

In January, the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance made public a letter that Murray and his campaign likely broke the law by accepting donations from former Chelsea Housing Authority Director Michael McLaughlin, who pleaded guilty to falsely reporting his salary between 2008 and 2011 as part of a plea agreement earlier this year.

In addition to the donations from McLaughlin, Murray also changed his story several times following a November 2011 car wreck where investigators determined that Murray's vehicle was travelling at speeds in excess of 100 MPH on state route 190 in Sterling, MA.

Murray denies that the McLaughlin case or his solo car wreck factored into his decision to resign. According to some reports, Murray's new position with the Worcester Chamber of Commerce will pay an annual salary of more than $200,000- versus around $125,000 as Lt Governor.

Secretary of State William Galvin would serve as the next in line to Gov Deval Patrick- including acting governor when Patrick is out of the state.

Meanwhile, state representative John Fresolo- a Worcester Democrat who has been the target of a House Ethics Committee investigation- announced his resignation last week. Although neither Fresolo or any member of the state Ethics Committee would disclose the details behind the investigation and Fresolo's sudden resignation due to House rules, representatives on Beacon Hill say that the resignation was appropriate. Multiple sources told Boston's WCBV TV that the investigation into Fresolo's conduct was launched after a female State House employee had filed a complaint in March.

Unlike Murray's resignation, there will be a special election for the state House seat vacated by Fresolo's resignation, with a primary set for August 13 and the final special election set to take place on September 10th, 2013.

Previously, Massachusetts has held the dubious distinction of having their last three speakers of the State House convicted of a felony.

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